What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a restorative device which covers a tooth in order to either strengthen a decayed tooth, repair a broken tooth, or improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.
A crown completely covers the visible area of a tooth, creating a brand new outer surface. A filling, by contrast, covers only a portion of a tooth.
There are four types of crowns:
Cerec crowns are made with an in-office machine and require only one appointment. In the past, the entire crown process could be expected to take at least two visits, but with the revolutionary Cerec software Dr. Beebe is able to design, mill, and place a permanent crown in one visit. Perfect for your busy schedule so you can be back to a healthy, natural-looking smile at the end of a single appointment!
Resin and Porcelain Crowns
This type of crown has the nicest appearance and is the most common among cosmetic dentists. Made from pure ceramic, or a new reinforced composite resin, it is almost indistinguishable from natural teeth. Resin and porcelain crowns are metal-free, and are chip-resistant (but they are capable of chipping if not properly taken care of).
Gold crowns, because they are made of gold, are appropriate when appearance is not a priority. The gold metal is extremely workable, which makes gold crowns a more precise fit than any other type. Gold crowns will not chip in any way.
Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns
Porcelain fused-to-metal crowns are both durable and have a very natural appearance. However, because they have a metal substructure, they require an opaque below the porcelain. Occasionally a darker line will be visible at the edge of the crown, near the gum as the gum-line recedes with age. Dr Beebe rarely uses porcelain fused-to-metal crowns.
What is the difference between the four types of crowns?
Gold crowns are the strongest and the simplest to install. Unfortunately, they are not as aesthetically pleasing as porcelain crowns. For most people, this is a serious cosmetic drawback, and the reason why gold crowns are usually used only on the back teeth. Less of the existing tooth is removed for a gold crown.
Cerec, porcelain, and resin crowns are by far the most natural-looking crowns available, often indistinguishable from real teeth. They are harder to fit into the gum line, and the porcelain is more susceptible to chipping; however, a trained cosmetic and general dentist will be able to complete this procedure easily and teach you how to care for your crowns. Relatively more of the existing tooth is removed for a porcelain crown, but creates a dazzling smile as a result.
Porcelain fused-to-metal crowns have a natural appearance and are less susceptible to damage than strictly porcelain crowns, but a darker, metal line may become more visible around the gum line as the gums recede with age.
The crown application procedure depends on which crown you will be receiving.
For a Cerec crown, your appointment will begin with Dr.Beebe taking 3-D images of the tooth that we will be working on. Then, using the gathered information, he will design your crown right down to the perfect shade to match the rest of your mouth. While you relax in our chair, your Cerec crown is made and permanently cemented in. No worries about dealing with a temporary crown for a couple weeks or taking the time off of work for another appointment!
There are typically three steps to applying a crown when we are unable to make a Cerec crown.
In the first part of the procedure, a mold is taken of the tooth which will be crowned. The mold is sent to a laboratory and used to create the crown. Additionally, before a crown can be placed, a filling must be put in place to stabilize the tooth structure from any further decay.
In the interim period between the first and second appointment, which is usually about three weeks, a temporary crown will be placed in your mouth. The color of the cement affects the color of the crown, so great care must be taken to select the cement which fits in naturally among the color of the rest of your teeth.
In the second part of the procedure, the laboratory-created crown is bonded to the tooth or teeth. First, the dentist uses either water or glycerin to place the crown onto the teeth. This non-permanent attachment is to check the crowns fit, shade, and color. The color of the crown can be adjusted based upon the shade of dental cement used, but cannot be altered after the crown is cemented. Once the correct color is determined, the crown is ready to be attached permanently with dental cement. The cement is sandwiched between the crown and the tooth, then a special light is applied. This light initiates the release of a catalyst, which hardens the cement and permanently affixes the crown.
They require regular brushing and flossing, just like real teeth. Also, anything that can chip real teeth can potentially also chip a ceramic crown.
If you have gold fillings (usually in the back of your mouth) you can expect a high degree of durability. Gold is stronger than ceramic crowns. Gold is even stronger than natural teeth.
If you have porcelain fused-to-metal crowns, you can expect basically the same durability as ceramic crowns. However, over time, a slight metal line may become visible between your crown and gumline. This is because gums tend to recede as you age.
Dr. Robert Beebe has been specially trained at the leading Las Vegas Institute and knows how to listen to your needs. Together you and Dr. Beebe can discuss your needs and wants to create a smile that will make a difference in your life. Contact Dr. Robert Beebe , an LVI Clinical instructor, today for an initial consultation.